Bruce Miller is the type of player you keep

March, 20, 2014
Mar 20
6:10
PM ET
Thoughts on the San Francisco 49ers' three-year extension through 2017 of fullback Bruce Miller on Thursday:

Miller
Smart move: These are the types of signings good teams make. Miller was to be a free agent next year. But as they did with center Daniel Kilgore, the 49ers secured Miler early.

Miller is one of the best fullbacks in the NFL. He is very versatile. He is an outstanding blocker and a reason why the 49ers move the ball so well on the ground. He also has a role as a receiver and as a short-yardage back. He is only getting better. San Francisco missed Miller when he broke his scapula in Week 15 and was out for the rest of the season. Miller said Thursday he is completely healthy.

Popular move: The former seventh-round pick is a great player off the field. He is very popular in the locker room. Teammates love his work effort. He's the type of guy who mixes well with every part of the locker room. He is also a fan favorite for the same qualities. Again, this is the type of player who teams keep.

Switch worked: Miller was a defensive end at Central Florida. He had no idea he'd become a fullback -- until 49ers running backs coach Tom Rathman called him the day before the draft.

The next thing Miller knew he was being taken by the 49ers in the seventh round and moving to the other side of the ball. It kind of worked out nicely.

“It's been a long journey and a lot of hard work,” Miller said Thursday. “But it's been blast and I couldn't have planned it out any better than what has happened.”

Culliver likely next: Don't be stunned if the 49ers work out an early deal with cornerback Chris Culliver. They have designated him as a priority as they did with Miller. There will be high-dollar discussions with Colin Kaepernick, Michael Crabtree and Mike Iupati to deal with next year as well, but Culliver, like Miller, may be easier to do. Also like Miller, it would be smart to secure a solid, young player like Culliver.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter

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